Wanganui?

Old Jun 3rd 2022, 8:07 pm
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Default Wanganui?

What is Whanganui like as a place to live for a young family?

We have heard some some really good things, but a few not so good. Are there any areas to avoid?

We want a community feel. Enough to do. Beaches and countryside. Shops and car dealerships (this is hubby’s profession). Good transport options.

Any insights or advice welcome.
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Old Jun 4th 2022, 7:06 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Only ever visited on the way through to the mountain or New Plymouth etc and we did have a roam about and had a trip on the steam boat thing once. I do like Whanganui but in my opinion it is very small town and not somewhere I'd set up home as there's not much to do....and then when you've done it all once, that's it.
We originally moved from Preston, UK to Wellington and I'm so glad we went for a place similar in size. We then moved up North to Tauranga and spent the next 8 years there but we wanted more options and opportunities for the kids as they grew older so jumped over the ditch to Brisbane.
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Old Jun 5th 2022, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Wanganui?

I lived in Whanganui with my kiwi husband from July 2011 to November 2016 when we came home to Britain. We attempted to settle in Christchurch initially but arrived two weeks after there had been a huge earthquake in February 2011 and the city was trashed.

Whanganui is a nice little town (ignore anyone who says it's full of gangs, it isn't.) Don't know about living there with kids as we don't have them.

Avoid Aramoho, Gonville, Castlecliff as places to live. They were a bit run-down but, 'Progress Castlecliff' has upped the profile of Castlecliff in recent years by the looks of it. Wanganui East has good and cheap property but personally I would rent there not buy there. It's a suburb with a village feel.

We rented in Springvale initially which was a good, predictable suburb. We purchased our house on the College Estate. Property is expensive by comparison to the places I referred to initially, that's why it's jokingly referred to as, 'poverty flats'.


St Johns Hill is a good, expensive-for-Wanganui, suburb aka Mortgage Mountain ! Not for me, though, I just don't want to live on a hill. Durie Hill and Bastia Hill are expensive too but IMO, no big deal and I wouldn't want to live there for the same reason as St John's Hill.

If you want to live in a beach side suburb, without the million dollar price tag, Castlecliff is for you.

The main shopping street in Whanganui is, 'Victoria Avenue' it's a nice long busy street. In one direction it leads to the Whanganui River and the town centre. It's compact. Trafalgar square is the main shopping mall. Again, small but most of the popular retailers are there i.e. Warehouse (it's like Argos but without the catalogues), Count Down (main stream supermarket), Whitcoulls stationery and books, other retailers too. There's a food court and a cafe.

There's a nice pub called, 'The Rutland Arms' there's another nice pub called, 'The Red Lion' both of them have a properly nice (old school ?) British Pub feel to them.

There is a community feel to the place.

The beaches are at Castlecliff and at South Beach. You might find the sight of black volcanic sand shocking at first ! Kai Iwi beach is a nice beach a short drive out of town. Oh, and the coast line of NZ is considered to be a public highway, you may see speed limit signs on the beach. There's the inevitable quad bikes etc but not that often.

Plenty of countryside to explore. You could drive out to Bushy Park Homestead for walk around. Also there is the, 'Bridge to Nowhere' which is an interesting day trip by boat. You land from the boat and walk into the bush. There's a big bridge built in the 1930's with a huge interesting history behind it. Waitahinga is a little drive outside Whanganui but there's some good walking trails there.

There's plenty of car dealerships. I have genuinely never seen so many car dealerships both main dealer and non-main dealer in one place.

Transport options ? There's a bus service but most people either drive or walk. The few trains that travel through Whanganui are all freight trains.


Rents are cheap in Wanganui, well, compared to Surrey where we come from anyway. The purchase price of houses is reasonable too.

There's no national health service anywhere in NZ. There's NZ Government run hospitals which are run on a mostly, 'user pays' basis. It may seem odd at first to pay for your Dr's visit before leaving the surgery. You get used to it.


You can buy private health insurance from any NZ provider e.g. Southern Cross etc. You just claim back your medical expenses according to your policy. You are not expected to have a policy, though.

You will pay for your doctor's appointments, prescriptions and repeat prescriptions.

Some regular referral tests will be free i.e breast cancer screening, smear tests.

Please spell the name of the town with an, 'h'. In 2016 the then mayor of Whanganui asked the National Geographic board of New Zealand to spell the name of the town as Whanganui from then on.

Some older people who live there consider the spelling with an, 'h' as politically correct nonsense. I won't bore you with the reasons why. You will see plenty of examples of it spelled without the 'h'.

BTW, we stayed at the Cooks Gardens Motel on Guyton Street, Whanganui when we came for our initial, 'reconnaissance' prior to moving to Wangas (Wanga Vegas) from Christchurch, NZ where we attempted to settle initially.

Last edited by Moon_River; Jun 5th 2022 at 5:41 pm. Reason: Thought of something else.
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Old Jun 5th 2022, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Wanganui?

That's a brilliant summary of wanganui, and no, I'm not old, you can spell it either way, roadsigns always with a h but everywhere else I'd say its 50/50...

Although the city was called Wanganui from 1854, in February 2009, the New Zealand Geographic Board recommended the spelling be changed to "Whanganui". In December 2009, the government decided that, while either spelling was acceptable, Crown agencies would use the Whanganui spelling.
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Old Jun 6th 2022, 12:43 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Originally Posted by Moon_River View Post
I lived in Whanganui with my kiwi husband from July 2011 to November 2016 when we came home to Britain. We attempted to settle in Christchurch initially but arrived two weeks after there had been a huge earthquake in February 2011 and the city was trashed.

Whanganui is a nice little town (ignore anyone who says it's full of gangs, it isn't.) Don't know about living there with kids as we don't have them.

Avoid Aramoho, Gonville, Castlecliff as places to live. They were a bit run-down but, 'Progress Castlecliff' has upped the profile of Castlecliff in recent years by the looks of it. Wanganui East has good and cheap property but personally I would rent there not buy there. It's a suburb with a village feel.

We rented in Springvale initially which was a good, predictable suburb. We purchased our house on the College Estate. Property is expensive by comparison to the places I referred to initially, that's why it's jokingly referred to as, 'poverty flats'.


St Johns Hill is a good, expensive-for-Wanganui, suburb aka Mortgage Mountain ! Not for me, though, I just don't want to live on a hill. Durie Hill and Bastia Hill are expensive too but IMO, no big deal and I wouldn't want to live there for the same reason as St John's Hill.

If you want to live in a beach side suburb, without the million dollar price tag, Castlecliff is for you.

The main shopping street in Whanganui is, 'Victoria Avenue' it's a nice long busy street. In one direction it leads to the Whanganui River and the town centre. It's compact. Trafalgar square is the main shopping mall. Again, small but most of the popular retailers are there i.e. Warehouse (it's like Argos but without the catalogues), Count Down (main stream supermarket), Whitcoulls stationery and books, other retailers too. There's a food court and a cafe.

There's a nice pub called, 'The Rutland Arms' there's another nice pub called, 'The Red Lion' both of them have a properly nice (old school ?) British Pub feel to them.

There is a community feel to the place.

The beaches are at Castlecliff and at South Beach. You might find the sight of black volcanic sand shocking at first ! Kai Iwi beach is a nice beach a short drive out of town. Oh, and the coast line of NZ is considered to be a public highway, you may see speed limit signs on the beach. There's the inevitable quad bikes etc but not that often.

Plenty of countryside to explore. You could drive out to Bushy Park Homestead for walk around. Also there is the, 'Bridge to Nowhere' which is an interesting day trip by boat. You land from the boat and walk into the bush. There's a big bridge built in the 1930's with a huge interesting history behind it. Waitahinga is a little drive outside Whanganui but there's some good walking trails there.

There's plenty of car dealerships. I have genuinely never seen so many car dealerships both main dealer and non-main dealer in one place.

Transport options ? There's a bus service but most people either drive or walk. The few trains that travel through Whanganui are all freight trains.


Rents are cheap in Wanganui, well, compared to Surrey where we come from anyway. The purchase price of houses is reasonable too.

There's no national health service anywhere in NZ. There's NZ Government run hospitals which are run on a mostly, 'user pays' basis. It may seem odd at first to pay for your Dr's visit before leaving the surgery. You get used to it.


You can buy private health insurance from any NZ provider e.g. Southern Cross etc. You just claim back your medical expenses according to your policy. You are not expected to have a policy, though.

You will pay for your doctor's appointments, prescriptions and repeat prescriptions.

Some regular referral tests will be free i.e breast cancer screening, smear tests.

Please spell the name of the town with an, 'h'. In 2016 the then mayor of Whanganui asked the National Geographic board of New Zealand to spell the name of the town as Whanganui from then on.

Some older people who live there consider the spelling with an, 'h' as politically correct nonsense. I won't bore you with the reasons why. You will see plenty of examples of it spelled without the 'h'.

BTW, we stayed at the Cooks Gardens Motel on Guyton Street, Whanganui when we came for our initial, 'reconnaissance' prior to moving to Wangas (Wanga Vegas) from Christchurch, NZ where we attempted to settle initially.
I remember you , I'd not long joined when you went to the UK but can't remember your original username. Are you still in the UK? I hope all has been good for you in the meantime.😊
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Old Jun 6th 2022, 3:44 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

I know the town very well and I would recommend it. A friend of mine is a genius entrepreneur and he is spending a lot of money on an entertainment complex in Victoria Avenue. The town has seen much regeneration of late and it still has a way to go, the thing is it’s a place on the up. It has a beautiful opera house and a great park in St. John’s Hill called Virginia Waters.

Here is the low down on the beaches....https://www.whanganui.govt.nz/About-Whanganui/Beaches Mowhanau is superb. There is a great Indian restaurant and an even better Japanese eatery. The Rutland is superb for real ale and craft beer. The surrounding topography is lovely and there are so many things to do in said bush.

I would move there.
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Old Jun 6th 2022, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Originally Posted by Mishclark View Post
I remember you , I'd not long joined when you went to the UK but can't remember your original username. Are you still in the UK? I hope all has been good for you in the meantime.😊
Thanks. I can't find my old password and log in details for my previous account when my screen name was, 'Snap Shot' so I re-registered. As I was re-registering, Moon River was the backing track of an advert on T.V. So I thought, yep, that'll do.

Yes, I'm in the UK. My husband and I purchased our house in the Midlands in 2020. I knew we were unlikely to return to Surrey or even the Home Counties anywhere. Been there, done that. Also the property prices are more reasonable in the Midlands.

Anyway, I'll PM you as this thread is not about me and I don't want to de-rail it any further.
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Old Jun 6th 2022, 9:26 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Originally Posted by Moon_River View Post
Thanks. I can't find my old password and log in details for my previous account when my screen name was, 'Snap Shot' so I re-registered. As I was re-registering, Moon River was the backing track of an advert on T.V. So I thought, yep, that'll do.

Yes, I'm in the UK. My husband and I purchased our house in the Midlands in 2020. I knew we were unlikely to return to Surrey or even the Home Counties anywhere. Been there, done that. Also the property prices are more reasonable in the Midlands.

Anyway, I'll PM you as this thread is not about me and I don't want to de-rail it any further.
Hey there. Hope all is happy and well for you both.
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Old Jun 6th 2022, 10:25 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Thanks. Yes it is. It's all good and all is well. Hope all is well with you.

Back on topic.
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Old Jun 7th 2022, 8:32 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Originally Posted by HFordy View Post
What is Whanganui like as a place to live for a young family?
How old are your kids?

Originally Posted by HFordy View Post
We have heard some some really good things, but a few not so good. Are there any areas to avoid?
Wanganui (I'm deliberately spelling it without an 'h') has changed a lot in the last 5 years. Lots of Aucklanders have moved down here because of the cheaper house prices although these too have risen (our house has doubled in value in the 5 years we've owned it) and just the other day the headline in the Chronicle boasted of a $2 million house sale - a first for Wanganui. I like the feeling of open space (esp. in the suburbs) - houses aren't crammed together and you usually get a nice big section (although not so much with new builds).

I'd avoid anything directly on Anzac Parade because of the danger of flooding. And possibly Castlecliff because I couldn't be bothered driving there and back every day. Ditto for the far Aramoho but honestly compared to the UK it's not that much driving. I like it 'cause it's nice and compact and there's hardly any traffic jams.


Originally Posted by HFordy View Post
We want a community feel. Enough to do. Beaches and countryside. Shops and car dealerships (this is hubby’s profession). Good transport options.

Any insights or advice welcome.
There's definitely a community feel, very arty town - there's pottery, glassworks and heaps of artists living here.
The beaches have black sand which I still haven't got used to. For shopping we either go to Palmy (Palmerston North) or Wellington (with Transmission Gully now open only 2 hours away) but you'll get your basic stuff at Farmers/Harvey Norman/Briscoes.

Lots of cafes (although they still close around 3-4 p.m.), wonderful Japanese and Indian restaurants.

Climate's pretty good - we might get a few frosts in the winter but during daytime temperatures will still reach 18-20 degrees Celsius. Summer's do get quite hot and the sun's much stronger over here so I don't tend to venture outside in the middle of the day. You really have to remember to slap on the sunscreen as you'll easily get burnt in 15 minutes.

Let me know what else you'd like to know and I'll try to oblige





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Old Jun 7th 2022, 8:36 am
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Default Re: Wanganui?

Originally Posted by Moon_River View Post
Thanks. I can't find my old password and log in details for my previous account when my screen name was, 'Snap Shot' so I re-registered. As I was re-registering, Moon River was the backing track of an advert on T.V. So I thought, yep, that'll do.

Yes, I'm in the UK. My husband and I purchased our house in the Midlands in 2020. I knew we were unlikely to return to Surrey or even the Home Counties anywhere. Been there, done that. Also the property prices are more reasonable in the Midlands.

Anyway, I'll PM you as this thread is not about me and I don't want to de-rail it any further.
That's it! Glad you're well, I din't want to derail either 😊
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